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Business Intelligence Tools Look to get Smart about E-mail

No company regardless of its size is immune from the possibility of an eDiscovery. But even as companies look to respond to eDiscovery demands placed on them by rulings such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), an equally vexing problem that they face is making sense of their growing mountain of email data.

A recently published study by The Radicati Group, Inc entitled, Email Storage Market, 2009-2013, provides a stunning look into the amount of storage that enterprises need to meet growing email stores. The most telling statistic was that enterprises with 1000 users will consume approximately 20 GB of storage per day or nearly 400 GB per month. But beyond just the problems and costs associated with storing these volumes of email data, an equally pressing challenge is intelligently managing these emails once they reside in these repositories.

Business intelligence tools are now being viewed as a new mechanism to accomplish this. Business intelligence (BI) provides the concepts and methods that improve business decision making by using fact-based support systems. Normally, business intelligence tools are used in conjunction with acquiring new customers or competitor analysis but growing email stores are forcing organizations to start to use these tools to ensure corporate compliance and manage risk. c

This management of external and internal risks is becoming increasingly important as organizations seek to cost-effectively mitigate the risks that responding to new government regulation, financial reporting, and litigation introduce in regards to managing email.

The application of business intelligence to searching and manipulating archived email data stores is still somewhat of a new concept. However technology driven, fact-based support systems are now needed to provide insight and manage these growing mountains of email data. So it is time to think about email archiving not just as a way to capture and store emails but as a way to apply traditional business intelligence principles to email data stores.

Products such as Estorian’s LookingGlass give companies the “fact-based” tools necessary to make important decisions such as:

  • Track any email or attachment regardless of whether it is incoming or outgoing. The spherical indexing engine used by LookingGlass provides organizations the ability to analyze email and track them in whatever direction they go.
  • Track all activity of email, even if it hasn’t been sent, by tracking activity in draft folders. LookingGlass can intelligently see activity as it is happening even if an email has not been sent. These emails are noted and indexed which gives a complete picture of email activity for compliance and legal matters.
  • Search capabilities that start with the attachment and then works backwards to find all associated emails. This capability allows a true front-to-back search capability without needing to know either the sender’s or the receiver’s email address.

Extending business intelligence to email allows companies to make proactive business critical decisions in areas that are often overlooked through traditional BI solutions. Email continues to experience exponential growth in enterprises but by applying BI technology solutions to email stores, companies can begin to manage and treat them the same way they do with data found in their other mission critical applications.

Today more so than ever before critical data with high risk implications is housed in email and should be treated like any other critical data source against which BI technology is used and decisions are made so it only makes to bring email into the same fold as financial, sales, or marketing data.

Expanding current BI initiatives and applying the same BI techniques to email as with other data through BI tools such as Estorian LookingGlass can no longer be ignored. After all, if companies ignore email and the growing complexity that large data stores create, they do so at their own peril as it leaves management poorly equipped to make the intelligent and critical decisions that today’s business and regulatory environment demands.

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